Biden Administration Faces Lawsuit from 21 States Over Highway Emissions Rule

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and 20 other states attorneys general filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s new rule requiring all states with the National Highway System to set “arbitrary emission targets.” This was part of the administration’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The rule was expected to go into effect on Jan. 8, 2024, and the lawsuit argues that the DOT lacks the authority from congress to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The attorney general’s office said that the rule forces states to spend a significant amount of time, resources, and money with no clear guidance for what success looks like. The complaint argued that the DOT lacks the authority from congress to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The lawsuit quotes the Constitution, stating that “the Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program,” and that “the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions,” dividing power among sovereigns and among branches of government for the purpose of resisting the concentration of power in one location.

The rule follows one of President Biden’s first executive orders, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” which directed all agencies to review and revise their existing regulations, holding each state responsible for tracking and reporting progress toward emissions targets to the federal government.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody commented that Biden’s energy policies have already devastated the state’s economy, and the new emissions rule will create additional financial hardships for Florida. She took action to ensure that the rule does not stand, with the support of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, who see the rule as a means to push the federal government’s “Green New Deal” agenda.

This is the second time Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has spoken out against this rule, having filed comments against its proposal with 19 other states in October 2022. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis asserted that the state will continue to fight against the federal government’s efforts to control the American people.

The other 20 states challenging the rule are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. This is the second time Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has challenged the Biden administration and the DOT in 2023. On Oct. 4, she filed a suit against the administration’s threat to withhold more than $800 million in federal transportation funding if the state did not abandon labor reforms.

The bill enables public workers to make informed decisions on whether to join a union and prohibits unions from forcing due withdrawals directly from employees’ paychecks, according to the attorney general’s office. The lawsuit is a bold move by the Florida attorney general and her counterparts in other states to challenge federal overreach and to protect the states’ rights.


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